Off on a Tangent 17.10

Three colloquia opportunities in the next two weeks

Title: High Performance Computing: A Case for Performance Analysis
Speaker: Dr. Valerie Taylor, Argonne National Laboratory
When/Where: 7:00 pm on Wednesday, March 6 in Winants Auditorium in Graves Hall

Abstract: High Performance Computing refers to the aggregation of resources (compute, data, interconnects) to deliver the significant computational power for large-scale problems. Current systems have hundreds of thousands of resources. For example, the Theta supercomputer at Argonne National Laboratory consists of 4,392 nodes, each containing a 64 core Xeon Phi processor, resulting in 281,088 cores. Such machines are used to solve large-scale applications in physics or engineering, for which it is important to analyze the performance of the applications to achieve efficient execution. This talk will provide an overview of HPC systems, motivate the need for performance analysis and modeling, and present some research results from the use of the models to improve performance.

Title: Exploring the Trade-offs between Performance and Power for Parallel Applications
Speaker: Dr. Valerie Taylor, Argonne National Laboratory
When/Where: Thursday, March 7 at 11:00am in the Schaap Auditorium, Bultman Student Center

Abstract: The demand for computational power continues to drive the deployment of ever-growing parallel systems. Production parallel systems with hundreds of thousands of components are being designed and deployed. Future parallel systems are expected to have millions of processors and hundreds of millions of cores, with power requirements. The complexity of these systems is increasing, with hierarchically configured manycore processors and accelerators, together with a deep and complex memory hierarchy. As a result of the complexity, applications face an enormous challenge in exploiting the necessary parameters for efficient execution. While reducing execution time is still the major objective for high performance computing, future systems and applications will have additional power requirements that represent a multidimensional tuning challenge. To embrace these key challenges, we must understand the complicated tradeoffs among runtime and power, and in some cases resilience strategies. This talk will present our methods and analyses to explore these tradeoffs for parallel applications.

Title: Mathematics and the Bible or Battle of the Queens: Mathematics reveals theological truths
Speaker: Tim Pennings, Davenport University
When/Where: Tuesday, March 12 at 11 am in VanderWerf 102

Abstract: Can a mathematician be a Christian? Can a Christian student do math? No matter, come discover from the owner of Elvis, the dog who knew calculus, himself a preacher’s kid of deep and intriguing connections between mathematics and theology. Why did the Apostle Paul write, “If the dead are not raised, then Christ is not raised . . ” What is the logical error in the Apostles’ Creed? What do differential equations reveal about the problem of evil? What does “e” have to do with moral dilemmas? How do prime numbers illustrate moral absolutes? How does Cantor’s infinity justify the notion of the Trinity?  If intrigued – be there.


The following colloquia are currently scheduled for this semester.

  • Wednesday, March 6 at 7:00 pm, Dr. Valerie Taylor
  • Thursday, March 7 at 11:00 am, Dr. Valerie Tayler
  • Tuesday, March 12 at 11:00 am, Dr. Tim Pennings
  • Tuesday, April 2 at 4:00 pm, Dr. Yew Meng Koh, Tyler Gast and John McMorris

Become a MathPath Counselor this summer

MathPath is an advanced summer program in mathematics for kids 11-14 years old. This summer it will be held at Grand Valley State University and they are looking for counselors. In particular they don’t currently have enough male counselor applicants to fill their spots and are accepting late applications. Interested students would need to submit applications as soon as possible. Graduating seniors are included in “current undergraduate students.”

Students who are interested in applying late should reach out to to verify that positions are still available and to receive an adjusted deadline for applications and recommendation letters.
For information about what a counselor does and how to apply click here.

Prime Numbers perhaps not so random

Researchers have discovered a pattern to what seemed like the random distribution of prime numbers. The pattern has a surprising similarity to the one seen in atom distribution in crystals. Read more about this in the Motherboard.

Problem Solvers of the Fortnight

Congratulations to Camen Andrews, Mara Benitez, Meredith Bomers, Josh Brummel, Anna Carlson, Adam Czeranko, Susie Davenport, Emily Dee, Derek DeVries, Thomas Diaz, Christian Forester, Scott Joffre, Fiona Johnson, Haley Katenin, Michael Kiley, Carson Koning, Jackson Krebsbach, Peter Le, James Mandeville, Cory McGregor, Alex Medema, Matthew Nguyen, Megan O’Donnell, Mark Powers, Grace Purdue, Emma Schaefer, Nathan Schloff, Garett Shrode, Riley St. Amour, Sean Traynor, Bethany VanHouten, Hans Veldman, Neil Weeda, and Tracy Westra — all of whom correctly solved the Problem of the Fortnight in the last issue of America’s premiere fortnightly mathematics department news blog.

Problem of the Fortnight

A lattice point is a point in the plane with integer coordinates.  If circles of radius r are drawn using all lattice points as centers, find the smallest value of r such that any line of slope 2/5 intersects some of these circles.
Staple a pair of NCAA men’s basketball final four tickets (or any reasonable facsimile thereof) to your solution (not just the answer!) and drop it in the Problem of the Fortnight slot outside Professor Mark Pearson’s office, room 212 in The Werf, by 3:00 p.m. on Friday, March 8. As always, be sure to write your name and the name(s) of your math professor(s) — e.g. Rosie DeMeener, Professor Bea O’Goodcheer — on your solution. Good luck and have fun!

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